The Australian Children’s Book Week theme for 2018 is ‘Find Your Treasure’. Such a perfect description of the search to discover your next great book. An incredible story can feel like treasure when it speaks to you and understands the way you think and feel. But not every book is perfect for everyone. I put down just as many books as I finish, but I never give up the hunt for my next great read.
Writing stories feels the same. Some days you dig lots of empty holes. Other days you trip over creative treasure with every step. SO, this year, my Top Ten Tips for Children’s Book Week are all about finding your next great book and digging up story inspiration.
Children’s Book Week runs from 18-24 August and here are 10 ideas to help make 2018 the best Book Week ever.
1) Dig Up Your Next Great Read
Discover your next book to treasure from the Children’s Book Council of Australia 2018 Notable Books list and shortlist. I feel very proud to have my book The Fall on the Older Readers Notables list alongside work by authors that I hold in very high regard. I hope you get a chance to read lots of these books.
2) Embark on an Outdoor Story Hunt
The process of writing a story is a treasure hunt in itself. Why not hit the beach, a park, your backyard or the playground and gather ‘treasures’? You could find a lost earring, a discarded receipt or the arm of a pair of glasses and wonder where it came from, leading you to an original story idea.
A great way to gather story inspiration is to use a phone, a camera, ipod or ipad to take photos of your treasures, then bring them back home or to the classroom, choose your faves, set a timer for five minutes and start writing. Check out examples of when I’ve done this:
- Watch my Story Safari video on how I wrote my novel Two Wolves
- Beach Writing Treasure Hunt
- Visit my CREATE page for inspiration.
- Check out Keri Smith’s book, How to Be an Explorer of the World
3) Give the Treasure of Reading!
Join my 2018 Room to Read World Change Challenge and help me and a host of other Australian authors change the world by educating children in the developing world. We have, so far, in partnership with Australian school students, raised over $100,000 to buy books, build libraries and educate girls in ten of the world’s poorest countries.
In 2018 we want to help 50 girls complete a year of secondary school. Just $365 can educate a girl in one of the world’s poorest countries for one year and help her to gain the vital skills she needs to make critical decisions when she leaves school. Our goal is to raise $18,250 to support 50 girls for a year. Learn more about becoming one of our 50 schools!
4) Find Your Book Week Parade Costume
Or maybe you’d like to dress like a Library Ninja, inspired by my story ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’ in My Life & Other Exploding Chickens.
5) Plunder the CBCA Site
The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Week activity ideas page is updated throughout the year. The brilliant Book Chook blog always has fantastic Book Week resources, too, so keep an eye on it for when posts start appearing. Or you could attend a CBCA Book Week event in NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS, SA, WA or NT.
6) Create Something
7) Discover an Author
You could book an author (or harass your teacher-librarian to book an author) to speak at your school. Here’s a list of agencies. Many authors are already booked for Book Week but if your celebration falls outside the official Book Week dates, you might get lucky. (I’m booked for Book Week ’18 but next year or other times of year can be booked through Speakers Ink (QLD) or Booked Out (other states). I’m also doing lots of Skype school visits this year.
8) Dive Into Mystery, Comedy and Adventure
Discover your next book on my revamped Books page based on what you feel like reading. Crime, mystery, humour or adventure. Click your genre, pick a book and you can watch a video, read a blurb or get the first chapter free.
9) Read Like a Pirate
You could use International Talk Like a Pirate Day, 19 September, to hold a ‘Read Like a Pirate’ session in class or at home where everyone takes turns to do their best / worst pirate impressions. It might be funny to read something totally un-piratey, but there are tons of great pirate reads from Sherryl Clark’s The Littlest Pirate and Pirate X to Isla Fisher’s Marge and the Pirate Baby to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. You might also want to take a look at Children’s Books Daily’s Top 10 Pirate Books.
10) Share Your Treasure!
Talk about Book Week and ‘Escape to Everywhere’ on social media. Connect with me on TWITTER , INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE throughout the year. Let’s talk stories, create things, share the best books we’ve ever read and the most amazing places we’ve escaped to through reading.